Christine, her girl friend and I just left an all night party at someone’s apartment, somewhere in Newark.
I didn’t know the host, but there were a lot of drugs there.
Mostly, we smoked dope. Some friends went on to heroin, I did not. Christine did.
Bleary-eyed, I drove home, certainly not at my best.
McCarter Highway was, in the center of Newark, a road with stoplights and two lanes in each direction. It eventually became a highway.
At a light, we noticed an unusual couple in the next car. The driver was a very large body-builder with arms the diameter of my legs. He looked Spanish. The woman passenger’s hair was so frigging high that she had to slouch in her side of the front seat.
Sunroofs weren’t common back then.
We may have giggled at this weird Norman Rockhard tableau. I don’t think they could have heard us.
A few minutes later, I inadvertently cut their car off. I was pretty far from being in good driving condition.
I think I waved “sorry”; not sure.
I see Mr. New Jersey coming up on our left side, telegraphing his intentions.
So, when he pulls up trying to cut across us, I know what’s going to happen and steer left.
This left him fishtailing down the highway as I slightly sped away.
I say “slightly” because my Bugeye Sprite was apart and I was driving dad’s Renault R8 Automatic. Yes, automatic. I could go out for coffee between shifts. It was SLOWWWWWW.
I cannot outrun this fellow.
This time he arrives on my right and tries the same move. Same result: I dive toward from where he came, he over corrects again and fishtails all over the highway.
(Yes, he learned nothing from our first adventure.)
I am going as fast as the car allows, which is surprisingly inadequate.
Do the French not like Jews?
I am in a tough spot. The 3 of us couldn’t hold him off and who knows what his girlfriend has hidden in her hair??
My exit is approaching and I’d really like to take it.
My opponent pulls up again on the right, raises his giant fist and screams at me. If I thought it would end there, I would’ve been okay. But, it wasn’t going to.
I have Christine lower her window. I scream back, challenging him to a fight, telling him to pull over.
We both head for the shoulder. He stops and I pull quite a bit further on.
I stop. He runs the pretty good distance to my car. He seems a bit tired at that point.
I look, give him a friendly wave and go to my beloved exit.
I also realize that there is no chance of a 3-way in my near future…
Meanwhile, the Charger accelerated to speeds reportedly exceeding 120 mph in a 55-mph zone and roared past a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper.
"I was like, 'What the hell, dude?'" the passenger told the station. "And then he (the driver) said, 'There's a blue light. I'm going to jail. I've got to go.'"
The trooper and other officers who joined the chase couldn't keep up with the Charger, which they reported as swerving through traffic and passing on a double line. Eventually the car zipped behind a house, came to a stop and killed the lights.
"He straight up told me, 'You're going to Charlotte with me,'" the passenger said. That didn't sit well with the customer, who reportedly demanded to be let out at a gas station.
Once he was out of the car, the passenger called police, who were able to track the driver — Michael Cranford, Jr., of Charlotte. Cranford was arrested on multiple charges including speeding and reckless driving.
According to court records cited by WSOC, Cranford has been pulled over for speeding at least three times, but charges were reduced and the cases disposed of.
Forget Self-Driving Cars. Bring Back the Stick Shift.
Technology meant to save us from distraction is making us less attentive.
By Vatsal G. Thakkar
Dr. Thakkar is a psychiatrist.
I was backing my wife’s car out of our driveway when I realized I wasn’t watching the backup camera, nor was I looking out of the rear window. I was only listening for those “audible proximity alerts” — the high-pitched beeps that my car emits as I approach an object while in reverse. The problem was that my wife’s car, an older model, doesn’t offer such beeps.
I had become so reliant on this technology that I had stopped paying attention, a problem with potentially dangerous consequences.
Backup cameras, mandatory on all new cars as of last year, are intended to prevent accidents. Between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of new cars sold with backup cameras doubled, but the backup fatality rate declined by less than a third while backup injuries dropped only 8 percent.
Perhaps one reason is, as a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put it, “Many drivers are not aware of the limitations” of the technology. The report also found that one in five drivers were just like me — they had become so reliant on the backup aids that they had experienced a collision or near miss while driving other vehicles.
The fact that our brains so easily overdelegate this task to technology makes me worry about the tech industry’s aspirations — the fully autonomous everything. Could technology designed to save us from our lapses in attention actually make us even less attentive?
Uber’s march toward a self-driving car hit a major speed bump last year in Tempe, Ariz., when one of its self-driving Volvos struck and killed a pedestrian. While a lot of focus was on how a vehicle with cameras and radar sensors could completely miss a human being on the road, less has been said about the failure of the most intricately programmed system in the vehicle — the brain of the human in the driver’s seat.
An investigation revealed that the driver was watching Hulu until the moment of the crash. Because the human brain is impeccable in its ability to filter out extraneous information, this type of behavior should have been predicted. During normal driving, our brains are in a near-constant state of vigilance. But let someone or something do the driving for us and this vigilance easily fades.
Something similar seems to have happened with a handful of fatalities involving Tesla’s Autopilot mode. It seems that the drivers made little to no effort to intervene.
The introduction of safety technology has resulted in unintended accidents in other contexts as well. In December 2017, a patient died at a major medical center when a nurse searched for an anti-anxiety medication in an automated dispensing cabinet by typing only its first two letters. She chose the first drug that appeared in the results — Vecuronium, instead of Versed. Vecuronium is a paralytic drug that is sometimes used in executions. When it was administered, the patient’s vitals crashed and she died within days.
Technology seems to have turned against us once again in the deadly crashes of two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts. In October, pilots on Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia seem to have struggled against the plane’s supposedly lifesaving technology. Investigators suspect that sensors incorrectly interpreted the plane’s ascent as too steep, causing the plane’s “maneuvering characteristics augmentation system” to kick in. It brought the plane’s nose down, ultimately into the Java Sea at 450 miles per hour.
Boeing had begun to develop a software fix, but it wasn’t ready in time for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which just this month crashed, possibly because of the same bug, killing all 157 people on board. In these cases, no one can criticize the pilots for failing to pay attention. Still, the crashes were a wake-up call, especially because pilots weren’t required to be trained on the new technology.
Though a supercomputer will always surpass the human brain in terms of pure speed, the brain is beyond complex in its ability to reprioritize salient data inputs from multiple sources. If one input becomes less relevant, our cognitive systems shift their attention to the next most relevant one (which these days is usually our mobile devices).
But there’s one feature available on some cars today that can increase a driver’s vigilance instead of diminishing it — the manual transmission.
A car with a stick shift and clutch pedal requires the use of all four limbs, making it difficult to use a cellphone or eat while driving. Lapses in attention are therefore rare, especially in city driving where a driver might shift gears a hundred times during a trip to the grocery store.
I’ve owned a stick-shift vehicle for the last 20 years. I bought my first upon graduating from med school — a used 1994 BMW 325i. Years later, my best man wrote “just married” on the back windshield, and the next year my wife and I drove our newborn son home from the hospital in it.
Sadly, sales of manual transmissions are falling, and many automakers, including Audi, are discontinuing the option in the United States. It appears that I’ll have to keep my 2013 S4 model until 2026 if I want to teach my kids to drive a stick.
When I bought that first five-speed BMW, my dad cautioned me about safety, thinking that driving a stick would be more distracting and less safe. He was wrong. Though research on the safety of manual transmissions is scant, one study on the driving performance of teenage boys with A.D.H.D. revealed that cars with manual transmissions resulted in safer, more attentive driving than automatics. This suggests that the cure for our attentional voids might be less technology, not more.
Note: The late great Tim Mullin and I discussed this once. I thought his theory, like this doctor's was wrong. A few days later, I told him he was correct.
Several years ago, I posted a remembrance from my experience as a junior medical student at UCLA in 1964. The recent events in Alabama have released a flood of memories from that period. So with your indulgence I am reprinting that diary. As an old white male, I can never pretend to know the agony and despair that so many women have suffered and continue to suffer as the result of those who would deprive them of their choice and dignity. I can only try to understand. Even at the age of 78 it haunts me still.
Her name was Susan. She was young. She was beautiful. She was intelligent. She was articulate. She was dying…
Susan was a 23 year old single woman who came to Los Angeles in the early 60’s to pursue her dream to become an actress. She had played the leads in her high school plays somewhere in Utah. She was runner-up in the Miss Utah pageant. She managed to get a couple of walk-on parts in some B-grade Hollywood films. She was a starlet.
A year or so after coming to the West Coast she became pregnant. The father quickly faded away into faceless LA. Her good Christian parents were humiliated, outraged and wanted nothing to do with her. She was on her own. Broke. Friendless. Pregnant. Scared.
So she took the bus to San Diego, walked across the border and headed to a cheap, dirty Tijuana abortion clinic. Four hours later she was back on the other side of the border, in pain, bleeding and completely debased. By the next day, the pain had become unbearable and she was spiking a temperature. She went to a local emergency room and was hospitalized overnight at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. She was subsequently transferred to the Medicine unit at UCLA Medical Center, at that time a small teaching hospital in its embryonic stages.
I was a 3rd year medical student in my first clinical rotation at UCLA. Susan was one of my first patients. We were about the same age. I was embarking on my medical career. Her life was ending
Over the next three weeks, I learned how people die from sepsis. Her uterus was perforated. She had developed gram-negative septicemia. Our knowledge of and access to antibiotics was primitive and limited. Eventually she went into renal failure. She burned with fever. She was racked with abdominal pain. The lovely face become sallow, sparkling eyes sunken, lifeless. Her skin turned a sickly bronze color. Her breath reeked the pungent stench of ammonia. After weeks of agony, her frail body mercifully surrendered.
As I recollect these painful images of my brief encounter with Susan, the most outrageous aspect of this experience is not even the way she died. It is that she died alone. During those three weeks, she never had a visitor. There was no boyfriend - he was off to other conquests. There were no parents - they disowned her in shame and embarrassment.
Even worse was the mindset of the medical staff. While she was given the requisite care, there was little, if any, sympathy or compassion for this young woman or her situation. There was always the profound sense that “she brought this on herself,” that she was, in the final analysis, just “an unfortunate tramp” - Even As She Lay Dying.
It is now 50 years later and I still carry this burden of shame for myself, my colleagues, my society, my country. And to this day, whenever the subject of Roe v Wade comes up, whenever I see and hear the holier-than-thou religious fanatics trying to take away the rights of a woman to control her own body, to make her own choices, to force her into the back alleys of Tijuana, I can still smell the stench of ammonia in the air.
Your Surgeon’s Childhood Hobbies May Affect Your Health
Medical schools are noticing a decline in students’ dexterity, possibly from spending time swiping screens rather than developing fine motor skills through woodworking and sewing.
Could you tie a series of square knots around the neck of a teaspoon without, even slightly, moving the teaspoon? How about using tweezers to extract a grape from inside a roll of toilet paper, without piercing the grape’s skin or touching the sides of the roll? Aspiring surgeons should have the dexterity to accomplish such tasks. But increasingly, they don’t.
Faculty members at medical schools in the United States and Britain have noticed a marked decline in the manual dexterity of students and residents. Some say it’s because of fewer hands-on courses in primary and secondary schools — shop class, home economics, drawing, painting and music. Others blame too much time spent tapping and swiping screens rather than doing things that develop fine motor control like woodworking, model building and needlework. While clumsiness is a growing concern in medical schools, the extent and permanence of the problem are unclear.
“There is a language of touch that is easy to overlook or ignore,” said Dr. Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College London. “You know if someone has learned French or Chinese because it’s very obvious, but the language of touch is harder to recognize.” And just like verbal language, he thinks it’s easier to acquire when you’re young: “It’s much more difficult to get it when you’re 24, 25 or 26 than when you’re 4, 5 or 6.”
Dr. Robert Spetzler, former president and chief executive of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, agreed. “Think about the difference between someone who has learned to ski when they were a little kid and someone who spent a long time, perhaps even the same amount of time, skiing as an adult,” he said. “That elegance that you learn when very young, doing that sport, can never be equaled by an adult learning how to ski.”
Dr. Spetzler earned a reputation as a virtuosic brain surgeon during his more than 40 years operating. He said he developed his dexterity as a child by playing the piano. And he began performing surgery in high school — on gerbils. All of them survived.
“The sooner you begin doing a physical, repetitive task, the more ingrained and instinctive that motor skill becomes,” Dr. Spetzler said. “What makes a great surgeon is unrelenting practice.”
Indeed, the scientific literature is replete with studies that show a correlation between surgeons’ experience and patient outcomes. The more procedures a surgeon performs, the more likely their patients will have shorter hospital stays, suffer fewer complications and, most important, survive.
That creates a problem for today’s medical students, particularly those lacking dexterity, because of rules on how much they can work. The introduction of the maximum 80-hour workweek in 2003 had the unintended consequence of limiting surgical residents’ availability to participate in operations and refine their skills. It’s estimated that work restrictions cause residents to lose a year’s worth of experience.
“When I trained, good or bad, I worked about 120 hours a week. That was just expected,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, a trauma surgeon and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. “Today the average resident finishes with around 900 operative cases. I finished with twice as many.”
It’s also true that there are now more kinds of surgery to learn. While surgery used to require cutting the patient open, advances in technology have created more minimally invasive procedures using scopes and programmable instruments like the Gamma Knife, which uses focused radiation to destroy tumors rather than having to remove them.
Some of the newer technologies demand less manual dexterity and more of the kinds of skills and reflexes one acquires playing video games. But nevertheless, they require repetition and experience to do well.
“Medical students today have to be trained much more broadly on a wider range of methods than earlier generations,” said Dr. Douglas Tyler, professor and chairman of the department of surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. “Because of the magnitude of knowledge and all the different technologies, now people more commonly go into fellowships, picking one area to specialize in,” so they can build confidence and competence.
But even if the procedure is not one that requires exceptionally fine motor skills, some still worry that medical students who are “all thumbs” — meaning their primary experience working with their hands is thumb-typing on their phones — may be deficient in ways other than just dexterity.
Dr. Maria Siemionow, a transplant surgeon at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, recalls spending hours in her youth crocheting sweaters and also cutting out pictures and words in magazines and gluing them into elaborate collages. Such creative endeavors not only develop dexterity, she said, but also require a three-dimensional imagination, planning, patience and precision.
“If you see the little stitch is pulled too tight or you glued something improperly, you have to repeat and learn how to do better,” she said. “It’s these basic skills you also need to be a surgeon.”
Dr. Siemionow led the team of surgeons that conducted the first near-total face transplant in 2008 and spends much of her time now conducting research and training residents in how to perform intricate surgical procedures under a microscope. She said it’s very easy to tell who is not going to make it: “They are already in their residencies and yet, they don’t have a good feeling about their hands and you observe them getting frustrated, they are impatient, there is blood all over.”
She believes students can be trained to be great surgeons, but they need to come in with baseline skills. Dr. Siemionow said that as a child growing up in Poland, she was always making things in school. “From what I see, it’s a wake up call, that schools need to do more to encourage creativity and three-dimensional thinking,” she said.
She and colleagues also wonder if it may also be time to reconsider how medical students are selected for surgical programs when at least 30 percent to 50 percent of complications from surgical procedures are potentially avoidable. The current system picks surgical trainees based on intellectual capacity. “We look at their grades and their test scores, their productivity, like writing papers and doing research, but the reality of being a good surgeon has nothing to do with that,” said Dr. Michael Lawton, who succeeded Dr. Spetzler as president and chief executive of Barrow Neurological Institute.
“What matters is how they handle the instruments and what kind of touch they have with tissues, as well as how they react and adapt when under stress in the operating room.”
Apparently it happened at a campground in Port Hedland, Australia where some careless campers left their beer out before they went to bed. Not realizing the danger they put their beer in, it was reported to the campsite owners that there had been a pig running around the past few nights getting into people’s belongings. One camper who was set up across from the victims said they woke up and witnessed it all.
By the time the pig was spotted, he was slamming down their last beer and ran off. According to witnesses, he then ran off to dig through the trash for something to eat. He was clearly buzzed at this point and they said he started a fight with a cow.
Look at the bright side: This time, the pig that liked beer didn’t end up on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The John Deere Z740R ZTrak zero-turn mower has a lot going for it: a mowing deck up to 60 inches, a 10 mph top speed, and a 23.5-horsepower V-twin engine. That bad boy's got a four-year, thousand-hour warranty that would be bumper-to-bumper, if it had bumpers.
What it doesn't have is air in the tires. Nor does it need any, because the Z740R rolls on the sickest of low-pros: Michelin Tweels, which combine a "shear beam" (think: the skinniest of sidewalls) with flexible poly-resin spokes connected to a hub. It's a tire and wheel in one, hence the name.
Now, when presented with an airless tire, you might think the first thing you'd do is try running over a nail. Wrong: you try running over two handfuls of nails, in the driveway of a friend's farm. This had no effect whatsoever, so I lined up a trio of nails in my own mini spike strip to see what would happen. The Z740R rolled over the nails, which lodged harmlessly in the tread and impeded the mower not at all.
Feeling cocky, I placed a brick in the driveway and drove over that, the Tweel deforming around the masonry and then springing promptly back into shape. It's simultaneously like a zero-profile performance tire, a run-flat, and an off-road balloon tire aired down to 10 psi.
Satisfied with my Tweel experiments, I roared off to mow approximately half a football field in five minutes, which is possible when you're hacking a five-foot swath at 10 mph.
I want my car to look like a Mars rover as soon as possible.
One Tweel downside is that on high-and-tight lawns and zero-degree turns, the relatively sharp edge of the sidewall can leave marks on the grass. That wasn't an issue in my gnarly test bramble, which is usually mowed by a tractor the size of a Victorian manor.
On the Z740R ZTrak, Tweels are a $580 option. That's a good deal, given that this size Tweel costs $599 each from Michelin. (And yes, they'll fit some other mowers, if you want to retrofit.)
Michelin is now also making off-road Tweels for UTVs, small turf-friendly models for golf carts, and even skid-steer Tweels. While the up-front price is certainly more than you'd pay for a pneumatic tire, Michelin says that the tread on a Tweel should last two to three times longer than a conventional tire—and it can be retreaded.
OK, so where's my automotive Tweel? I want my car to look like a Mars rover as soon as possible. Right now the max speed rating for a Tweel is 50 mph, but I hold out hope for car-sized Tweels.
Because I'm not sure I found all those nails I dropped in the driveway.
Texas Baptist pastor who advocated executing women for abortion faces child sexual assault charges
Stephen Bratton, a 43-year-old recently former Southern Baptist pastor in Cypress Station, Texas, has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenage relative over several years. From the Houston Chronicle:
Stephen Bratton, who resigned from Grace Family Baptist Church in Cypress Station last month, was charged Friday with continuous sexual abuse of a child, Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Saturday. The 43-year-old is accused of inappropriate touching that escalated to “sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week” from 2013 to 2015, Gilliland said.
Bratton seemed to have a keen interest in controlling women’s bodies and their health care. Because, of course he did.
Bratton has been an outspoken pro-life advocate, making national news recently for supporting a failed bill that would have made it possible to criminally charge women who terminate their pregnancies.
Bratton didn’t merely want to prosecute women for abortion, he supported a bill that have made abortion a capital felony and could even carry the death penalty for women.
The Houston Chronicle reports Bratton confessed to his wife, who called his fellow church leaders. To their credit, they notified police the same day and took steps to immediately dismiss him and excommunicate him.
Unfortunately, Bratton paid a $50,000 bond and was released.
I'm investigating buying an Elise in a different state. I've never done this before. I'm not financing the vehicle. How do sellers typically prefer payment? I don't bank with a bank that has a branch in the likely selling location.
I suppose I could get a cashiers check, but since I won't know...
Ok gents, why wouldn't this work on our cars?
QuickJack - Ranger BL-5000 Quick Jack - Motorsports Race Jack Stands - Race Car Pit Lift - Portable Car Lift - Garage Lift - Ranger
While I'm not sure you could take the under panels off while it's up on these I'm thinking these would be perfect...
Thought id post this on LT forum because Lotus guys always like engines! :grin2:
This is a project I have been working on for quite a few years. Probably another lifetime or 2 to go!
The sump is taller than my 7